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Microsoft licenses ARM to influence chip design

updated 08:00 am EDT, Fri July 23, 2010

Microsoft may chase Apple, servers with ARM

Microsoft surprised the industry on Friday by becoming an ARM licensee. The deal gives it access to the ARM architecture and the rights to develop processors based on the technology. What exact aims weren't explained, but the license would "enhance [its] research and development activities for ARM-based products," according to general manager KD Hallman.

The Windows developer has already had to work with ARM in software, as it has developed Windows CE, Embedded, Mobile and Phone to run using the platform. A license doesn't necessarily equate to developing processors but could lead Microsoft to suggest optimizations to companies making chips running its mobile operating systems.

Its move, however, appears to follow a similar approach to Apple, which licensed ARM under two years ago to develop what would ultimately become the A4 chip in the iPad and iPhone 4. Microsoft is currently struggling in tablets without either a mainstream Windows 7 device or any contemporary Windows CE hardware, and won't see Windows Embedded Compact 7 devices ship until 2011. Smartphones may also be affected, although Microsoft has multiple WP7 launch partners and may not need to spur extra development.

An ARM license won't accelerate work in the short term but could lead to faster launches in the future and would leave open the option of Microsoft producing its own chips to design some or all of a phone or tablet itself.

by MacNN Staff



  1. imactheknife

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Whats the point?

    TO make more useless products and lose more money?...MS is not a hardware company, their barely a software company anymore. They seem to be grabbing at everything now.


    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ok, this is bizarre even for MS. They don't make hardware, they are pure software company that was built entirely on the premise of using off the shelf c*** and now this?

    Steve Balmer must be getting desperate or MS too much money.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Goodbye Excellence?

    Hello Mediocrity... at best?

    At the very least, another money sinkhole for MS.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Meaningless

    they are pure software company

    Except for the keyboards, mice, game controllers, xBox, Zune(!),

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad! Bad! Bad!

    This is not good news! Microsoft will balkanize this and not honor the licensing conditions like they have done on every similar occasion in the past. It is a move that pretty much guarantees that Apple (even though they wouldn't) simply couldn't buy ARM Holdings now or anytime in the future without insane monopolist accusations. It's simply another spiteful Ballmer act where they get someone to p+ss in the punch at the parties they're not invited to.

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